Meow the 39-pound cat dies
By Kathaleen Roberts / Albuquerque Journal, May 8, 2012
<<The extra pounds that propelled Meow the shelter cat to national celebrity have killed him. The 5-year-old, 39-pound cat died Saturday of respiratory complications related to his girth, Santa Fe Animal Shelter executive director Mary Martin said Monday.
The huge but personable feline became the subject of nationwide fame last month after appearing with Anderson Cooper and on the “Today” show — where Meow met actor Hugh Grant — as part of a media blitz to warn pet owners of the dangers of pet obesity.
Meow traveled between Santa Fe and the East Coast for his TV appearances by airplane in a carrier that was stowed in an area for animals near the luggage. When asked Monday, shelter officials denied that the jetting around and the pressures of meeting his fans might have contributed to Meow’s demise — a theory put forth by many on the Internet after news of the fat cat’s death hit news sites around the world. “We were wondering about that,” Martin acknowledged. “But he wasn’t showing that. Cats don’t like stress. But he liked people. I think he was more stressed not being around people. He was purring all the time.” And shelter officials said Meow did well in New York while hitting the talk-show circuit.
Meow the cat had found refuge in Santa Fe after his elderly Roswell owner could no longer care for him.
<<Men in Black (MIB) is contacted by an Arquillian fleet in Earth orbit; the fleet warns that a "Bug," a member of a giant cockroach-like species that are at war with several alien races, has come to Earth searching for an object known as the Galaxy. It's infinite power could turn the tide of war in favor of the Bugs. To prevent this, they are willing to destroy the Earth unless the MIB can secure the Galaxy before their deadline, only hours away. Agent K and Agent J find the Bug is disguised using the skin of farmer Edgar after killing the human. It already killed two Arquillians it believed had the Galaxy. The two bodies, along with a cat that refuses to leave its owner, are taken to the city morgue. There, Dr. Laurel Weaver discovers one of the tiny Arquillians is barely alive inside its human looking robot; struggling with English, it whispers to her that "The Galaxy is on Orion's belt" before it expires. K and J arrive to help remove the alien bodies and wipe Laurel's mind, but not before learning about this message. En route back to headquarters, they realize that Orion refers to Rosenberg's cat and the belt would mean the cat's collar.>>
Santa Fe veterinarian Jennifer Steketee thought Meow’s health had been improving because he had lost two to three pounds. The average cat weighs between 8 and 12 pounds. Meow had been transferred into a foster home after a physical examination, blood work and a weight-loss plan were completed at the shelter. “He’d been doing really well,” Martin said. “He’d been climbing the stairs,” an activity he had never attempted before. He loved his brush and would push his head against it to ask for grooming, she added.
The shelter had put him on a diet of fresh protein ––chicken and turkey, with some Wellness kibble, she said. “The Roswell shelter told us he had been on a hot dog diet,” Martin continued. “Then (the former owner’s) daughter said that was not true. So we don’t really know” what he had been eating.
But on Thursday Meow’s foster family noticed he wasn’t eating well and was wheezing. “He ate a snack here and there, but he wasn’t eating very much,” Martin said. Steketee took him to an emergency veterinary hospital, where doctors gave him oxygen and asthma medicine. His vital signs “weren’t great, but they weren’t horrible,” Martin said. “We kept him on oxygen to make him comfortable.” Staff members took him to another clinic for a cardiac ultrasound, which showed nothing wrong. He spent the night there.
Meow seemed stable Friday morning, so Steketee took him to her home to watch him. “I wouldn’t let him out of my sight,” she said. His condition had deteriorated by Saturday, so Steketee took him back to the clinic. His heart stopped early Saturday afternoon.
“I think the consequences of his obesity for 4½ years just caught up with him,” Steketee said. “He just took a turn for the worse despite everything we did to turn it around. He was bright and alert and cheerful until those respiratory symptoms started. It challenged every part of his body to fight against this extra weight. His lungs had to push against this huge layer of fat.”
The story of the brown-and white kitty with the bright green eyes touched a chord with thousands. Although shelter staffers originally thought he was 2 years old, his former owner’s daughter said he was actually 5, Martin said. “The fact is he died here at 5 years of age,” Steketee said. “Most cats actually live to 15-20. It’s a preventable problem.”
The shelter staff were astounded by the avalanche of attention over Meow’s story. “When we put this out, we thought maybe local folks would pick it up,” Martin continued. “This (obesity) is an epidemic. We’ve gotten comments (on Facebook) like ‘Meow has inspired me as a human being to lose weight.’”>>